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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

September 13, 2005

antitrusters question NCAA purchase of NIT

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:49 pm

In a letter, yesterday, to the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice,

and New York Attorney General Spitzer, the American Antitrust Institute called for

investigation of the private antitrust settlement in which the NCAA and the NIT agreed

to merge their tournaments. In its settlement with Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball

Association, NCAA agrees to purchase the National Invitational Tournament for $40.5

million, plus $16 million to settle the suit, which is pending in the the SDNY federal

district court.  (, “NCAA buys tournaments, ends NIT litigation,” by Andy

Katz, Aug. 17, 2005; Sports Law Blog has a case summary and an analysis of

the settlement; Skip Sauer at Sports Economist has also looked at the case and


bballGuys  In calling for an antitrust merger investigation by one or more of the agencies,

the AAI letter, signed by its Vice President Diana Moss, explains, in part:

Even a cursory look into the proposed settlement raises serious questions

about the health of competition in post-merger markets. For example, the

NCAA would be in a position, post-merger, to impose its “mandatory participation”

rule for both the NIT and its own tournaments. This would erect an insurmountable

barrier to entry into post-season play.  In enhancing their market power in acquiring

tournament teams, the NCAA would in turn enjoy significantly more market power

in sales of broadcast rights, sponsorships, concessions, and event tickets. The

proposed deal thus packs a double punch for consumers. Schools would have fewer

options and face potentially non-competitive terms for post-season tournament play.

And sponsors and consumers of the tournament games would potentially face higher



Based on information that is publicly available, AAI believes that there is a significant

probability that the effect of the proposed merger may be to significantly lessen (or

eliminate entirely) competition between organizers in acquiring men’s Division I basketball

teams for participation in post-season tournaments. NCAA President Myles Brand could

not have said it more succinctly when he noted in regard to the August 16th settlement:

“We’ve now unified post-season basketball.” 




The merger would spell an end to the NIT which, once upon a time, was an equally-matched

and vigorous competitor to the NCAA. But a series of actions by the NCAA has diminished

that competition, to the detriment of consumers. The proposed consolidation would further

hurt consumers and preclude the emergence of a stronger rivalry between the NCAA and NIT

(and with respect to new upstarts). An antitrust investigation of the merger could focus on

such key issues as market definition (which was controversial in the MIBA v. NCAA litigation);

the significant potential for unilateral exercise of market power; and the entry barriers created

by the merger. Moreover, the inquiry should extend to the likely effects of the merger on pre

season tournaments by giving the NCAA the “green light” to enact a pending rule that

would replace independent tournaments with events the NCAA can control.


(Sept. 13, 2005)


Of course, few readers of this weblog are old enough to remember the time when the NIT “was

an equally-matched and vigorous competitor to the NCAA.”


update (Sept. 14, 2005):  See our follow-up, not just NIT-picking.




the bounce
of raindrops
on the basketball 

      w.f. owen 

         Frogpond XXIII:3 (2000)






boy shooting baskets–

deep snow piled

all around him


       lee gurga 

          from Fresh Scent



  • by dagosan                                         


the ten-year-old

lets dad win


                          [Sept. 13, 2005]


p.s. Hey, haijin, how about some basketball

haiku and senryu?    

update (7 PM):  Our Haiku Hotdog Ed Markowski has

already provided us with a benchful of haiku and senryu.

See this Comment.  Here are three of ’em:


city moon

my basketball flattened

by a shard of glass





stiff march wind

the sound

of an airball





game winning shot

the big man

palms my head







  1. dave, i’m taking you up on the invitation. ed /
    one on none
    cheerleaders pass
    on their way home from practice
    city moon
    my basketball flattened
    by a shard of glass
    stiff march wind
    the sound
    of an airball
    game winning shot
    the big man
    palms my head
    spring equinox
    the seamlessness
    of his crossover dribble
    one on none
    i wink to a girl
    i’ve dressed in tight levi’s

    500 jumpshots
    in a veil of snow
    march madness

    Comment by ed markowski — September 13, 2005 @ 7:19 pm

  2. dave, don’t tell me you couldn’t see this coming when you extended that invitation.

    Comment by ed markowski — September 13, 2005 @ 9:09 pm

  3. Manhattan /
    the shadow of a skyscraper falls across /
    the basketball court /

    Highway One /
    ten feet up the Sequoia /
    an orange hoop

    ok dave, that’s a bit a bball around the usa. the highway one piece is from a roadtrip in 1974.

    Comment by ed markowski — September 13, 2005 @ 10:38 pm

  4. dave,
    i cannot rest!

    calligraphy class
    the point guard
    pens a nike swoosh

    basketball season
    the scent of wintergreen
    seeps from the gym

    Indiana farm
    one tractor
    three hoops

    above the wheatfield
    a basketball hoop

    Kentucky homestead
    after the harvest
    a game of three on three

    Comment by ed markowski — September 13, 2005 @ 10:27 pm

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